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Dutasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor that binds both types I and II enzymes. Compared with finasteride, its inhibition of type II enzymes is three times more potent; its inhibition of type I enzymes is 100 times more potent (Clark et al., 2004). Dutasteride is not approved for the treatment of FPHL by the FDA, and ongoing studies on the efficacy of the inhibitor are promising but largely focus on male patients (Gupta and Charrette, 2014, Olsen et al., 2006). A study of women after 3 years of therapy showed that dutasteride may be more effective than finasteride in women under 50 years of age as measured by hair thickness (not hair density) at the center and vertex scalp (Boersma et al., 2014). One case report of a 46-year-old female with FPHL showed some response after 6 months of treatment with a dose of 0.5-mg dutasteride daily despite a minimal response to treatment with finasteride and minoxidil (Olszewska and Rudnicka, 2005). Data with regard to the treatment side effects in women is extremely limited. Dutasteride is classified as pregnancy category X because of teratogenicity and should have the same theoretical risk of breast cancer as mentioned in relation to finasteride (Kelly et al., 2016).
Central centrifugal cicatricial (scarring) alopecia: This type of hair loss occurs most often in women of African descent. It begins in the center of the scalp. As it progresses, the hair loss radiates out from the center of the scalp. The affected scalp becomes smooth and shiny. The hair loss can be very slow or rapid. When hair loss occurs quickly, the person may have tingling, burning, pain, or itching on the scalp. Treatment may help the hair re-grow if scarring has not occurred.

Eyebrow loss, also known as superciliary madarosis, can occur with a variety of medical conditions. Madarosis can affect one or both eyebrows with partial or complete hair loss. Infections, chronic skin disorders, hormone disturbances, autoimmune diseases and medications are among the many medical reasons for eyebrow loss. In most cases, identification and treatment of the underlying condition leads to regrowth of the eyebrows. Permanent eyebrow loss can occur with disorders that permanently damage the hair follicles.
It’s natural for estrogen levels to fluctuate throughout a woman’s life, but drastic drops can disrupt the hair growth cycle and cause telogen effluvium. For example, during pregnancy, a woman’s estrogen levels are at their peak. Fewer hair follicles enter the telogen stage of the hair cycle, so hair looks thicker than usual. A few months after pregnancy, however, estrogen levels drop and the excess hair falls out. While totally normal, this type of telogen effluvium can be very upsetting for new mothers.

Androgenic alopecia, hair loss when androgen levels are not too high, is an indicator of inflammation. Hair loss is just one sign of inflammatory issues like Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Naturopathic Doctor Lara Bridden says, “Inflammation hyper-sensitizes your hair follicles to a normal amount of androgen. Reduce inflammation by avoiding food sensitivities such as wheat and/or dairy, and by correcting intestinal permeability.”
Eating a balanced, low-fat diet is your best defense against hair loss. Make sure you include an adequate amount of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in every meal. It’s also important to incorporate mono-saturated oils, such as olive oil and sesame oil, into your diet. Drinking green tea and taking vitamin B6 and folic acid supplements may help restore hair growth as well. Essential fatty acids also play a crucial role in maintaining hair health. These fatty acids can be found in the following foods:
Posterior blepharitis is characterized by either excessive foam in the tear film in the hypersecretory type, or plugging of the meibomian orifices in the obstructive type. Expression of the secretions reveals a turbid or toothpaste-like material.[32] If there is spillover inflammation of the anterior lid margin, there may be a loss of eyelashes.[33]
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Telogen effluvium, a type of scalp hair loss characterized by hair shedding, may affect the eyebrows as well. It can be caused by any emotional or physiological stress, for example acute or chronic illnesses, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and medications that alter the normal hair cycle and cause the hair the enter the telogen phase prematurely.

Infestation with the mite D. folliculorum which inhabits the eyelashes is well known. Two species are known to inhabit human beings—D. folliculorum and Demodex brevis.[29] It might either be asymptomatic or may cause symptoms of blepharitis. Kemal et al. report an overall prevalence of 27.4% in their study group.[88] Gao et al. have reported a 100% prevalence of the mite when there is cylindrical dandruff.[29] Patients with demodicosis can develop madarosis.[29]
Tames and Goldenring described a case of bilateral loss of eyebrows and eyelashes in a patient with AIDS-related complex who had smoked crack cocaine. This has been attributed to hot vapors during the process of smoking, and which therefore caused singeing of the brows and lashes. There was a complete reversal once the patient abstained from cocaine.[93]
Before you start hormone replacement therapy, it's important to talk to your doctor about the possible risks and negative effects versus the benefits of HRT. If you're already at an increased risk for health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and blood clots, HRT may not be the best hair loss treatment for you. If you are prescribed HRT, it important to take the lowest doses that are effective, and to only take the drugs for the shortest amount of time needed to control symptoms.
It’s not the amount of testosterone or DHT that causes baldness; it’s the sensitivity of your hair follicles. That sensitivity is determined by genetics. The AR gene makes the receptor on hair follicles that interact with testosterone and DHT. If your receptors are particularly sensitive, they are more easily triggered by even small amounts of DHT, and hair loss occurs more easily as a result. Other genes may also play a part.

Yes. If you wear pigtails or cornrows or use tight hair rollers, the pull on your hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia (say: al-oh-pee-sha). If the pulling is stopped before scarring of the scalp develops, your hair will grow back normally. However, scarring can cause permanent hair loss. Hot oil hair treatments or chemicals used in permanents (also called “perms”) may cause inflammation (swelling) of the hair follicle, which can result in scarring and hair loss.
The different phases may last for varying periods of times from several years in anagen, to a few months in telogen or several weeks in anagen. Fortunately not all hair follicles are in the same phase at the same time. So the majority of the follicles will be in anagen phase, while a smaller amount will be in the catagen phase and a few follicles will be in the telogen phase. This ensures that there is always some hair present even when the follicle is not active and the hair is not growing.
Male pattern hair loss has been established as androgen-dependent because it is associated with changes in the androgen receptor and responds to antiandrogen therapy (Ellis et al., 2002). With FPHL, genes that encode aromatase, which converts testosterone to estradiol, are also implicated (Yazdabadi et al., 2008, Yip et al., 2009). The process of androgen biosynthesis is depicted in Figure 1.
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Here is one small European study which looked at 20 pre-menopausal women with female pattern hair loss to check their serum levels of estradiol, free and total testosterone, SHBG, LH, FSH, and DHEAS. These levels were compared to those of a control group without hair loss. Estradiol is one of the three naturally occurring forms of estrogen found in the body.

When a woman is experiencing hair loss and has PCOS, spironolactone is often prescribed and it can be helpful but it’s important as well to address all these other issues when it comes to PCOS related hair loss. It’s also important to know that there is only a mild correlation of elevated testosterone on a blood test and hair loss. This is likely due to the hypersensitivity of the follicle to androgens in PCOS. Basically we get an exaggerated reaction from a smaller amount of testosterone.
Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in a hair follicle's oil glands. Scientists now believe that it's not the amount of circulating testosterone that's the problem but the level of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles. DHT shrinks hair follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, topical treatments like minoxidil (Rogaine) and others tend to only be partially effective, if they are effective at all; they don’t address the root causes of hair loss; they target androgenic alopecia (which only accounts for some cases of hair loss); and they come with a host of unpleasant side effects—side effects that can worsen the aesthetic problem you were hoping to fix. Rogaine can cause hair to grow in different colors and textures than the surrounding hair and can cause unwanted hair to grow on your cheeks and forehead.
Interestingly, 40% of the genes causing male pattern baldness were located on the X chromosome. You inherit that chromosome from your mother. By analyzing all these genes, researchers could also make a “scorecard” which predicts what risk a man runs for experiencing hair loss based on his genes. The hope is that in the future, this could be refined and used to prevent early signs of hair loss.
Yes. Hyperandrogenism, a medical condition characterized by excessive production of male hormones called androgens, can cause hair loss in affected women. The most common cause of hyperandrogenism in women is functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, also known as polycystic ovary syndrome. In addition to hair loss, other signs include obesity, acne, and irregular menstruation, and it is one of the most common causes of infertility.
Check for hypothyroidism. If you also notice unexplained weight gain, chronic fatigue, feeling depressed, or feeling colder than usual in low temperatures, your thyroid gland may not be producing enough hormones. You may also notice your periods getting heavier or becoming sporadic. Hypothyroidism is most common in women, especially over age 50, and it can be treated with a synthetic hormone.[31]
Alopecia areata is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system erroneously attacks the hair follicles, causing inflammation and temporary hair loss. Any hair-bearing skin site can be affected by alopecia areata, including the eyebrows. Treatment commonly involves corticosteroid injections into the site of eyebrow loss. Eyebrow hairs usually grow back, but may be a different color or texture than the lost hairs.
Finasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase type II inhibitor, and although it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of male androgenetic alopecia, it is not approved for FPHL. Finasteride is significantly teratogenic and has been shown to cause feminization of male fetuses (Bowman et al., 2003) as well as sexual side effects, depression, headache, nausea, and hot flashes (Varothai and Bergfeld, 2014). The decreased conversion of testosterone to DHT causes a build-up of testosterone, which subsequently converts to estradiol and creates a relative estrogen excess, and this could theoretically increase the risk of breast cancer (Kelly et al., 2016). Studies that use low doses (1 mg daily) showed no significant benefit (Kim et al., 2012, Price et al., 2000). However, one study of 37 premenopausal women who were taking a 2.5-mg dose of finasteride daily with an oral contraceptive pill showed improvement of hair loss in 62% of patients (Iorizzo et al., 2006). Another study of 87 pre- and postmenopausal normoandrogenic patients who were taking a 5-mg dose of finasteride per day for 12 months showed a significant increase in both hair density and thickness (Yeon et al., 2011). The effectiveness of finasteride does not seem to differ between pre- and postmenopausal patients (Yeon et al., 2011). Finasteride is classified as pregnancy category X.
Thank goodness! I am a teacher which requires me to get up about 5:30 during the school year. This summer, I will turn 62 and although I’ve always had problems waking up early in the morning – he it is so severe that I am sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day! This is terrifying as school starts in less than two weeks. I am postmenopausal for close to 20 years now and recently found out that my estrogen level is elevated. Your article is a godsend; I will now be able to have an intelligent discussion with my gynecologist and hopefully become a morning person for the first time in my adult life!
Diet and supplements. Hair loss caused by a vitamin deficiency or eczema can be addressed with a healthy diet and targeted vitamins and supplements. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamins A, B and D by eating leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, eggs and whole grains. If you have any gaps in your diet, take the necessary supplements to promote hair growth. Your doctor can give you direction about what to eat and take for support.
Both benign and malignant tumors such as seborrhoeic keratosis, molluscum contagiosum, basal cell carcinoma, squamous-cell carcinoma, sebaceous cell carcinoma, and sclerosing sweat duct carcinoma have been shown to be associated with loss of eyelashes.[1,111–113,119,120] A sebaceous cell carcinoma very often presents as a recurrent chalazion. An associated madarosis (due to lid infiltration and follicle destruction) would help to differentiate the two.[121,122] Tsuji et al. reported a rare case of primary epithelioid hemangioendothelioma of the eyelid associated with madarosis.[123] Primary leiomyoma of the eyelid has been reported with madarosis.[124] Kuan[125] described a case of lacrimal gland tumor masquerading as blepharitis with madarosis.
Reduce stress. When you are stressed, your body starts shutting down processes that aren’t necessary for survival. This shutdown can occur with physical stressors, like surgery or an illness, and emotional stress, which often manifests as physical symptoms. Loss may occur up to three months after the stressful event and may take another three to grow again.[24]
In this section, our Houston Hair Transplant Team discusses current trends in hair loss and restoration research with published experts. We choose our interviewees based on those who have had NIH or Medline indexed published medical research that is peer-reviewed. The list will be organized by country and then alphabetically by physician last name. Click on the name to read about the latest research in thinning hair and hair restoration from around world. We thank our specialists below for giving us the valuable time and sharing of insight. We are deeply grateful and honored to have had the privilege to get the insight provided by these world renown specialists
“When I went in for my Bosley consultation, my senior counselor was the one who walked me through the procedure. He also had had the procedure done, and his results were phenomenal. And I was thinking, ‘Wow, if I can get that, that’s what I’m looking for.’ He really got it — he understood me. He understood what I went through, and that was really important to me.
Thyroid hormone receptors were detected in both dermal and epithelial compartments of the human pilosebaceous unit.[48] T4 and T3 decrease the apoptosis of hair follicles and T4 prolongs the duration of anagen in vitro.[49] Thyroidectomy delays initiation of anagen. Administration of thyroxine advances anagen, initiation of which is however delayed once toxic doses are given. Therefore, ratio of telogen to anagen hairs is increased in hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism.[50] Thus, the hair follicles are affected in thyroid disorders, and madarosis is caused due to disturbances in hair cell kinetics. Hypothyroidism is associated with generalized hair loss probably due to coarse, dull, and brittle hair with reduced diameter.[51] The eyebrows and eyelashes may also be lost. Loss of lateral one-third of eyebrows known as Hertoghe sign[38] is a characteristic sign of hypothyroidism.[52] Some people also refer to it as Queen Anne's sign,[53] after Anne of Denmark whose portrait with shortened eyebrows has been interpreted by some as indicative of the presence of goiter, even though such a fact has not been proved by any known sources of information. Madarosis may even be the presenting sign in hyperthyroidism.[21] In hyperthyroidism, there is thinning with breaking off and shortening of hair.[54] Madarosis can also occur in hypopituitarism, hypoparathyroidism,[21] and hyperparathyroidism.[55]
Madarosis is a clinical sign that has become pathognomonic of leprosy in countries like India. However, this apparently benign clinical sign has wider ramifications in many systemic and dermatological disorders. Hence, establishing a proper diagnosis and appropriate management is mandatory. Though management of the primary disease results in regrowth of eyebrows and eyelashes, many require surgical management. Thus, the management of a patient with madarosis requires a coordinated effort from the dermatologist, ophthalmologist, internist, and reconstructive surgeon.

There is also a different in the form of 5AR enzyme (5 alpha reductase) found on the facial hair follicles vs. the scalp hair follicles. This enzyme converts testosterone into that more problematic DHT. Type I DHT is found in sebaceous glands on the face and genital area whereas Type II is found in hair follicles of the scalp. Type II DHT is typically more of a problem in men, but Type II is increased in disorders with high testosterone like PCOS.
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However, the effects of alopecia reach far beyond symptoms of depression and include anxiety, obsessions, dissatisfaction with one’s appearance, and low self-esteem (Al-Mutairi and Eldin, 2011, Dlova et al., 2016, Hunt and McHale, 2005, Schmidt et al., 2001). There can be significant disturbance in a patient’s social life because they may change their hair style, clothing, or avoid social meetings (Al-Mutairi and Eldin, 2011). One study reported that 40% of surveyed women described marital problems and 63% had career-related issues that they ascribed to their hair loss (Hunt and McHale, 2005). These effects seem to occur regardless of patients’ age, race, or degree of hair loss (Dlova et al., 2016, Hunt and McHale, 2005, Schmidt et al., 2001). Another study of more than 200 women found that this psychologic morbidity occurs with equal frequency in women whose hair is typically covered by a headscarf (Erol et al., 2012).
This plant is native to North America and has been used for centuries by indigenous people to treat menstrual and menopausal disorders. While modern research results are mixed, some studies do indicate that black cohosh can be effective as a treatment in menopause. While the research focuses on hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause that get more attention than hair loss, it follows that black cohosh could also help to improve hair growth when estrogen levels decline.
Blepharitis is a chronic primary eyelid inflammation. It is fairly common in occurrence and being a condition with remissions and relapses, results in a decreased quality of life if adequate measures are not taken. Chronic blepharitis is the most common condition associated with madarosis.[10] Though there are various ways of classifying blepharitis, the most useful is the one proposed by Wilhelm,[24] wherein blepharitis can be classified based on whether there is a predominant involvement of the part of the eyelid anterior to the gray line (anterior blepharitis), or posterior to the gray line (posterior blepharitis). The gray line is an imaginary line dividing the eyelid into an anterior part consisting of the skin and muscle, and a posterior part consisting of the tarsus and conjunctiva.
Hair loss may also occur due to dieting. Franchised diet programs which are designed or administered under the direction of a physician with prescribed meals, dietary supplements and vitamin ingestion have become popular. Sometimes the client is told that vitamins are a necessary part of the program to prevent hair loss associated with dieting. From a dermatologists’s standpoint, however, the vitamins cannot prevent hair loss associated with rapid, significant weight loss. Furthermore, many of these supplements are high in vitamin A which can magnify the hair loss.
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